The Arizona State Senate has passed a bill allowing guns in public buildings. It now goes to Governor Brewer, that bastion of sanity, for her signature. The bill’s Republican sponsors defend the bill by saying that granting law-abiding citizens the freedom to pack heat will serve as a deterrent to law-breakers.
Critics cite the broad array of public buildings where gun-toting citizens will be allowed to carry: places like public pools and libraries. There is an opt-out provision where cities and counties can keep firearms out of their public buildings, however, they would be required to ramp up security, including the installation of metal detectors, gun lockers and two armed guards at each entrance. In these cash-strapped times, that’s a tall order. It’s estimated that in Maricopa County alone, the tab would run $11 million for equipment and another $20 million to add new guard staff to the county’s 111 public buildings.
Mercifully, it would still be illegal to carry a firearm on or near school grounds. One would think that putting that sort of money into the schools, which rank 44th in the nation, would be a better crime deterrent, but we are talking about Arizona, where in 2009 Governor Jan Brewer actually signed into law a bill that allows people with concealed weapons permits to carry guns into bars. Really. Of course, the language of the law states that if you are carrying, then you can’t drink alcohol. If it weren’t so awful it would be funny.
I guess the Gabby Giffords shooting didn’t make much of an impression.
Maybe it’s all that desert heat that makes the legislators in the state so crazy. Whatever it is, my advice would be to stay out of Arizona, where the lunatics are armed and running wild and free.